Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday is for the Gym & Dijon Mustard Sauce

Monday Gym Day
Today I decided to go with my typical (or what has become my typical) Monday routine of hitting up the gym for elliptical and weights. I started with about 15 minutes of the elliptical today, then hit the weights for back and biceps. I went with trisets of 3x8.

TS#1
Underhand barbell rows
Pullovers
Single-arm rows

TS#2
Dumbbell curls
Hammer curls
Cross-body curls

Assisted pullups - 8
Concentration curls - 5 (went pretty heavy with idea of just going to failure)

I finished out with another 15 minutes on the elliptical. Overall, a really strong workout. It was definitely what I needed today as a stress reliever.


Mustard Sauce for Monday
I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do for dinner tonight. Last night I actually had cereal (gaps). We had some asparagus that needed to be used up quickly, so I went with that and built the meal around roasted asparagus.

I did roasted sweet potatoes (rosemary, salt, pepper, parsley), roasted asparagus (salt and lemon pepper spice blend) with homemade Chikn' Seitan Patties that I basted in a sauce of Dijon mustard, splash of vegetable broth, salt, pepper, parsley, nutritional yeast flakes and baked. I made a Dijon Mustard Sauce that turned out wonderful. I was rather proud of it as I just threw in ingredients.

Dijon Mustard Sauce
Ingredients:
1/8 cup minced red onion
Dijon mustard (maybe 1 1/2 tbsp)
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Small amount of no-salt vegetable broth (to consistency basically), white wine would be good too
Nutritional yeast flakes (approximately 1 1/2 tbsp)
To taste: salt, pepper, parsley

Directions:
Lightly saute onions then add in remaining ingredients and allow to simmer to desired consistency.
 

I was really pleased with how everything turned out. It wasn't a complicated meal, which is even better after a long Monday. Do you ever build a meal around one single item like a veggie on the way out the door or do you start with the protein as a base? Or is it totally random from day-to-day? For me it can vary. Sometimes I think of a sauce that sounds fantastic and then figure out what to use the sauce on even. Perhaps a bit backwards....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Boxing & Car Shopping

Boxing Over Running
I had thought that I might run today depending on the weather. I just wanted to head out for an easier 4-miler. My training plan had originally called for 5-6 yesterday and 9-10 today.

Unfortunately, it was really windy and looked like rain all day. I took that as a sign that I needed to do something other than get in a run. So, I went with Cathe's MMA Boxing then abs from Power Hour. It was a fun workout and time flew by this morning.

Errands, Chores, More Car Shopping
After the workout, I started working on some house chores before we decided to head out to run some errands. We recently rearranged the living room, and I wanted a new lamp for a side table. We hit up Kirkland's and scored a great deal on the perfect lamp - $16.97! Then we hit up Target and a few car lots before decided we really had to eat before we could even think about the grocery store.

While eating, however, we talked ourselves into going back to one of the lots to test drive a car there. Of course that meant we were there far longer than we had hoped or planned on. I've had several people ask me about what I've been looking at. I didn't really want to say, some of the cars sound pretentious to me, even if they are used. I don't ever want to come across that way. I mean, my car was 10 years old and Jason's is 11. We haven't bought a new car in a LONG time. We're definitely not luxury car people, but used? Hey those kind of are affordable.

So...I kind of like the Hyundai Genesis (though I can't drive the standard because the seat doesn't scoot up enough to touch the clutch), Infinity G37 Coupe, and I test drove a BMW 328i Convertible today ('07). While I loved the BMW because it hit all of my criteria (sporty, standard, convertible), I am still oddly leaning towards the G37. Major "zoom" factor with that one ;-)

I still had some chores I wanted to finish up and some doggy treats to bake up for an order. Jason was kind enough to drop me off at the house and take care of the groceries. I think I can handle doing some laundry, baking treats, and blogging rather than the grocery store ;-)

Anyway, since lunch was sort of late (and I ate too much), I'm not sure what we'll end up having for dinner tonight. It's oddly warm here because we have a front pushing though (which is going to bring some storms tonight), so soup really doesn't sound appealing at all. Maybe some sort of salad perhaps. If it ends up being anything exciting, I'll be sure to post tomorrow ;-)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Last Long Run & Day at the Track

Sort of Good Run
Today I had planned on doing at least 11 miles for my last long run before the half marathon next Sunday. We ended up having plans to go to the race track (about an hour away) with friends and also wanted to go back and look at a car. This meant we needed to get up and get the run done sooner than later.

I had hoped to be out the door by 8:30, it ended up being 9. It was sunny, about 40 degrees, and low winds. Not too shabby. I have a tendency to over dress for the cooler runs, but today I did good. Not too many layers at all. Jason, however, was overheated within 10 minutes. This is the same person who always reminds me that I get too hot. Anyway, so he's already hot and he decided to wear this particular jacket for the extra pockets. Rather than using the water bottle running belt he has, he had the brilliant idea of stashing two bottles in the back pockets.

Let's just say he quickly realized that was a huge mistake as they were bouncing around everywhere. Anyway, he was struggling big time also because of his allergies and having taken allergy meds. Totally not his ideal running day. After about two miles in, he was still not hitting a groove, but I was. I ended up going on ahead of him and met back up after a turn around then passed him again. But God love him, he kept on going.

I had a really great run up until about mile 9. I had found an awesome groove and was just trucking right along. That's exactly how I need to feel next Sunday! Anyway, this route today was super hilly. So about 9 miles in I was starting to feel the fatigue. Jason apparently decided it was time to run and caught up with me and then kept speeding up. This totally undid my groove I had going. We ended up hitting 10.5 miles before I had to just stop period. My knee was starting to feel a bit achy and I wanted to be safe not sorry.

I did try a Clif gel packet today, and that seemed to work out really well for me. The bloks/chomps were causing me to have an upset tummy for about 10 minutes after I ate them. This gel brand didn't seem to bother me at all. Big plus.


Track & Pizza Day
So, after getting back to the house I stretched and rolled then quickly got cleaned up. I heated up some veggie burgers for us to eat in the car - we were really running behind.

It ended up being a gorgeous day for the races. We had a great time with our friends as well - sat in some awesome boxes right at the finish line.
 

We didn't win (though we only bet twice today), but it was the atmosphere and time with friends that really mattered. Oh, and the people watching, The track is prime for people watching. You see all kinds from an older lady in an all shiny gold suit to a guy who was a total Kid Rock Wannabe.

Last night we actually had a vegan frittata for dinner rather than pizza. I worked 9 hours and didn't have a chance to get home and get the dough started early enough. Of course I had to make up for that today. So tonight is pizza for us. It's in the oven right now and smelling great.

I hope everyone has a good Saturday!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fun Facts Friday - The Little Things

Early Morning Weights
I guess I just have so much on my mind that sleep is just not happening this week. I tossed and turned most of the night, finally getting out of bed just after 5am.

I decided to go ahead and get in my chest and shoulder workout. I had thought I would do triceps as well, but my left elbow has been bothering me. When I do chest and triceps at the same time, it makes it worse, so I'm resting the tris.

I went with supersets of 3x8 (big surprise) unless noted:

Pushups - 24
Shoulder press (warmup) - 10 reps

SS#1
Flat bench chest flye
Chest press

SS#2
DB shoulder press
Lateral raises

SS#3
Incline bench chest flye
Incline bench chest press

SS#4
DB upright rows
Rear delt flye

Staggered press - 12 reps
Front raise - 12 reps

I did abs from Cathe's High Reps (I seriously love that ab workout) and called it a morning.

Fun Facts Friday - The Little Things
Since I've been struggling with not letting this whole car situation bring me down, I thought I'd share some of the little things that keep me afloat. Sometimes it really and truly is that little thing, the small gestures, the unexpected nuances that can make (or break) your day. When we learn to pay attention to those little things and add them up, I think they can help us keep our chins up.
  • A great blog post at just the right time like today's post "The Wooden Bowl" by Kristina at Spabettie.
  • An email from a friend with just the right words.
  • A hug. Sometimes it seems like a hug can fix everything.
  • A blog comment like the one I received from Quisha @ Socially Green. Sometimes you guys can seriously make my day.
  • Sunshine.
  • A key chain. You don't realize what they can mean until yours is gone.
  • A hot shower.
  • A really good cry.
  • A really good haircut.
  • Freshly painted fingernails (and toes of course).
  • A smile from a stranger.
  • A random compliment when at just the right time.
  • Warm, fuzzy house shoes after a long run.
  • Someone cooking for you.
  • An inspirational quote (thanks Lindsay).
Definitely not an all-inclusive list of course. What are some little things that have happened or that you've noticed that maybe made your day - or at least made you smile?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Toasted Tempeh Burritos on Dreary Thursday

Dreary Day
Today was one of those really gloomy, gray days that make you want to stay in bed. The only thing I was looking forward to was finally having the insurance company start the process of considering my car a loss as tomorrow marks 3 weeks since it was stolen. I swear, Jason and I have done nothing but talk about cars, prices, numbers, etc. for the past few days. Somehow, I expected a bit of relief from that pressure.

Instead, when the lady calls Jason, she says that she got a report that the car was found on the 22nd. Um...news to us... So roller coaster of emotions going on. Turns out that only the license plate was found. For real??? Could they not have figured that out first? We don't know how long it will take for them to determine the value of my car and to get a check now. Could be tomorrow, could be Monday.

I just know I'll be so very glad for all of this to be over with.


Dreading Dreadmill 
Anyway, the gray day turned into severe storms and tornado warnings. Not exactly ideal conditions for an outdoor training run. I'm crazy, but not stupid. So I hit the dreadmill. And today it definitely had a dread factor. I think mostly because of all the car "stuff" weight on me, the gray day, and then the thought of more steady state than intervals.

I know, shut up and stop the bitching and get it done...and I did of course because I somehow have this crazy ability to suck it up when I just shut up about it. Doesn't mean I enjoyed it any more of course (humph).

Anyway, the plan called for 6 miles, 4 x 2:00 incline intervals, 6 pickups. I did 4 miles, the intervals, pickups, and another mile for a total of 7 miles. It was crazy running and watching the storm blowing in. Kind of scary actually. The gym is on the 29th floor and the window were actually shaking. Definitely made for an interesting run.


I got home and hit my yoga mat and TriggerPoint Therapy Kit before going to finally get cleaned up.

Tempeh Thursday 
While I was getting cleaned up, Jason made some Toasted Tempeh & Black Bean Burritos. 

I am using a recycled picture as we just had these last week ;-) Oh, and I'm starvin'

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rest Day & Test Driving

Today I am enjoying a rest day. I actually woke up around 4:30 this morning and tried to go back to sleep, but around 5:20 I was still awake. I almost got up to get in chest, shoulders, triceps. But after some debating with myself, I realized that yesterday's back/biceps workout would negatively affect any upper body weights today as my biceps are indeed talking to me. So, it was a rest day.

Tomorrow is supposed to be terribly stormy weather unfortunately. That means I'm going to have to take my run indoors. Not super excited about it as it calls for 6 miles followed by incline intervals then speed drills. I can handle the intervals and the drills, but 6 miles steady-state??? I may be fudging that plan once again (and I won't feel bad about it one bit).

After work, I finally went to test drive a couple of cars. My required list is easy: sporty, 2-door, convertible or sunroof, zoom zoom on the speed. I would prefer a standard as that's all I've driven. I don't think this sounds unreasonable, but apparently it is. Not finding many cars that fit into this category...oh, and affordable, forgot that part ;-)

There are pretty much four cars that I was interested in. I drove two and knocked one off the list just looking inside. One I am on the fence about and just need to go back and drive it. I was sort of hoping that driving the two I drove today would just settle it - like I'd like one a ton more over the other. So didn't happen that way of course.

Test driving of course put us home later than normal. Dinner is just going to be some Black on Black Bean Burgers I had stashed in the freezer with some baked sweet potato fries.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gym Day & Coconut Peanut Curry Tofu & Chickpeas

Legs, My Aching Legs
I must say that last night after sitting down to eat dinner, I wasn't sure my legs were ever going to function normally again after this sequence of workouts: 12-mile run (Sat), legs (Sun), 8-mile with intervals (Mon). Let's just say we need a new thing of tiger balm now.

Of course, the reason I did the run on Monday rather than today was because I was supposed to have jury duty. I didn't have a clue what the day would bring so I was prepared to make it a rest day if needed. I called the number last night as directed and listened to the names being rattled off, not once, but twice through because my name was never called. At the end of the message it just said that if they didn't say your name, you didn't have to report until further notice. Seriously???? Oh well, at least I got the run done right? 

This morning, oddly enough, my legs weren't nearly as bad off as I had expected. I can walk normally and even hover over the toilet at work. Huge plus ;-)

So today wasn't a rest day after all. Though, I must admit I'm feeling one coming on tomorrow most likely. Unfortunately it's supposed to storm on Thursday, which means another long training run on the treadmill if I don't go run tomorrow.

Anyway, I wasn't going to push it (too much) with any super leg intensive workout like step. Instead I decided to do my typical weights/elliptical day. Today was back, biceps, abs. I started with a 10-minute easy warm up on the elliptical.

Assisted pullups (I dropped the weight as low as I could to at least get 2 reps so it's closer to unassisted)

SS#1 3x8
Underhand barbell rows
Alternating curls

SS#2 3x10
Pullovers
Cross-body curls

SS#3 - 3x8
Single-arm rows
Concentration curls

I did some ab work then returned to the elliptical for another 15 minutes.

This morning I started pressing tofu for dinner tonight. Then at lunch, I made a marinade (that will also act as the sauce).

Coconut Peanut Curry Sauce
Ingredients:
1 can lite coconut milk
31/2 tbsp PB2 (or use natural creamy peanut butter)
To taste: curry powder (approximately 1 1/2 tbsp), garam masala, cinnamon, salt, freshly grated ginger, basil, red pepper powder, cinnamon

Directions:
Whisk together all ingredients.

Coconut Peanut Curry Tofu and Chickpeas
Ingredients:
1 recipe for Coconut Peanut Curry Sauce
1 package extra-firm tofu, pressed
1/4 white onion, diced (I ended up having to use red but think white would be better)
2 carrots, diced
1/4 cup frozen peas
1 cup chickpeas
Prepared brown rice or quinoa

Directions:
Cube tofu and marinate in some of the sauce for at least one hour, the longer the better.

Bake tofu at approximately 400 degrees until firm (about 45 minutes).

In large skillet, saute onions and carrots until begins to soften, add in the remaining sauce, chickpeas, and frozen peas. Cook until peas are heated through then toss in the tofu just to coat.

Serve over rice or quinoa.
 

The tofu smelled so fragrant while baking. This turned out really well. It was full of great textures - I'm definitely a texture gal.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Running & Back to Cooking - Vegan "Sausage" Peppers and Herbed Quinoa

Running
Unfortunately I didn't have the day off like many people. If you did have the day off, no bragging please! I had originally though that I was going to just hit the gym for a bit of elliptical time and weights. I ended up opting for tomorrow's run instead because I have jury duty tomorrow and don't know what the day will hold for me.

I am trying to get back on track with my half marathon training plan this week since I pretty much tossed it out the window last week. The run called for 3 miles, 2 x(2:00, 3:00, 4:00) athletic intervals, 2 miles.

It was super windy again and drizzly out. When I left work, it looked like it was going to start raining again, so I took the run to the treadmill. Of course, the sun ended up coming out...but it was still windy. Anyway, after the intervals, I was already at 6.7 miles. There was just no way I could pull out another 2 miles, but I did round it out to a solid 8 miles.

I got home and pulled out my yoga mat (per the norm) and stretched and used my TriggerPoint Therapy Kit for about 30 minutes before getting myself cleaned up.

Back in the Kitchen 
Jason had to go home for an extended lunch to watch over the Comcast repair man, so that meant he needed to stay and work a little bit later. I almost went with veggie burgers and sweet potato "fries" because I could start the fries while I showered.

But I decided I had been pretty lazy in the kitchen lately, so I went with a dish similar to my "Sausage" and Veggie Pasta dish, which is actually based off a Giada De Laurentiis recipe for sausage and peppers sandwiches. I made "Sausage" and Peppers with Herbed Quinoa.


"Sausage" and Peppers with Herbed Quinoa
Ingredients
1 1/4 cups red quinoa
1 1/2 cups no-sodium vegetable broth or water
To taste: basil, oregano, parsley
3 Tofurky Kielbasa, cut diced into rounds
1/2 large white onion, thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2-3 tbsp minced garlic (to taste, I like a lot)


1/4 cup white wine (may need more or use vegetable broth)
1-2 tbsp tomato paste
To taste: salt, pepper, red chili flakes, oregano, basil, parsley

Directions:
In medium sauce pan, bring broth, quinoa, and herbs to a boil then lower to a simmer, cover, and cook approximately 15 minutes until liquid is absorbed.

In large skillet, brown the "sausage" then set them aside.

Saute onions, peppers, and garlic in small amount of olive oil until soft. Add in wine or broth and tomato paste an allow to thicken about 5 minutes (adding more liquid if needed). Stir in the "sausages" and allow to reheat.
 
 

This really doesn't take terribly long to make and is also good served over pasta or as a sandwich. It was nice to make a dish that felt healthy, hearty, and homemade (but still fast). As tiring as it can be always cooking dinners, it's well worth it in the end. It's nice to take a break, but I do miss being in the kitchen.

I think perhaps it's time for a new cookbook (or two) just to spark the creative juices again though. I have a rather extensive Amazon "wish list" that I need to hit up. So do you like cooking or would you prefer to eat out? Any fave cookbooks?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sort of Sushi Saturday, Leg Day, & Relaxation

Sushi Saturday (Not Homemade)
Well, in the end, we had sushi, but not homemade. We kind of waited too late to get started, not paying attention to the prep time for the rice. So we went with plan B. There is a sushi place nearby. I made some veggie spring rolls and baked some tofu I had marinated in a peanut butter sauce (PB2, OJ, rice wine vinegar, tamari).

Jason was really only supposed to pick up a couple of rolls for he and my sister. Instead he picked up 3 rolls for them, some edamame, wakame salad, and spring rolls (though I was making some, he insisted on trying theirs, but they were fried). Anyway, it ended up being quite the spread. The next time she is over, however, we will be making homemade sushi rolls and I promise to take process pictures as well as end-result pictures.

Legs
I sacked out at 10 pm last night and slept hard. I guess that's what running 12 miles will do to you. This morning I got up expecting to be more sore, but I wasn't. My calves are a little tight, but they've definitely been worse. In fact, I felt fine enough to go ahead and do leg weights today. I had kind of hoped to do an easy 4-miler today. But it's really windy out and I just didn't have the patience for that. So leg weights it was. I went with sets of 3x8 unless noted.

SS#1
Alternating front lunges
Deadlifts

SS#2
Squats with low-end pulse
Plie squats with low-end pulse

SS#3
Step ups
Calf raises (toes turned out) - 3x15

SS#4
Side drop lunges off step
Rear leg slide back lunges

Plie hops with weight - 24
Firewalkers - 8
Weighted donkey kicks - 2x8
Inner thigh squeeze with ball - 2x24
Roll-ins with hip lifts on ball - 12

I did 2 of the upper body punching combos and drills from MMA Boxing then the abs from the same disk. I stretched for a good while as well.

Patio Time
Today was crazy windy. Definitely not a day ideal for running, biking, or any outdoor activity. We decided to take a drive through of car lots to get an idea of what I might want and the prices. The nice thing about car looking on Sunday is that most lots don't have dealers swarming you.

I did find one car that I am really sort of excited about, but I am leery at the same time. We have to wait until Thursday, so it's hard to let myself get super excited just yet. I hope to test drive the car this week perhaps. If I like it, if my car isn't found, and we get a check by Friday...then maybe getting down and dirty with the buying will be easier.

After driving around for a bit, we decided to have a late lunch at a place with a patio. They have windows up most of the year, including right now, so that means we could eat on a patio but not be bombarded by the gusting wind. Some friends of ours met us there as well. So it was a great afternoon of just relaxing and visiting. Definitely a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I think weekends should always include lots of relaxing and time with family and friends.

Because our lunch was so late, I really don't know what we'll end up doing for dinner. It might be some sort of salad perhaps. It's a bit warm for soup - or soup just doesn't seem appealing I should say.

I'm trying to do myself (and hubby) a huge favor on the weekends and get posts done early so I can disconnect and just enjoy the weekend time. It's too short as it is. I feel the need to apologize for not visiting blogs like I normally do or being as exciting with my posts. But, at the same time, I need to find a bit of balance and I know that you all will fully understand. In fact, it's something I hope all of you bloggers do as well - find the balance, enjoy your time with family and friends first and foremost.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

12 Miles Saturday - Maybe Some Sushi Too

12 Miles
This morning started off a bit cloudy, but quickly cleared off into an incredibly beautiful, 70-degree day. While I am loving the sun and warmer weather, I will admit that we should have set out for our run today a bit earlier as it got HOT. No complaints though. I'll take that over snow, ice, or blustery winds.

My goal for today was to hit 11 miles. We decided to run most of the race course so that I would have an idea of the route and what to expect. We ended up hitting just over 12 miles.

For the most part, it was a really good run. I only had a bit of piriformis pain around mile 4, but it sort worked itself out I guess. My calves started getting super tight about 9 miles in, so I refocused on my form, did a few kick butts just to get my body moving differently. The route passed by our house so we had stashed spare water in the yard, soooo needed by that time too.

It was really nice getting an idea of the route - especially knowing the parts that are going to be beyond boring! Thankfully it's not terribly hilly and the last part is mostly downhill (big score). I am nursing a blister on the bottom of my foot - around my toes. I'm not nearly as sore (yet) as I thought I was going to be. I do know I am going to have to test out some other mid-run fuel this week as the shot bloks are suddenly upsetting my tummy a bit. I am also going to have to take at least two servings along with me for the race. One will NOT cut it that's for sure.

We got home, encrusted in salt and in desperate need of serious stretching and rolling. I spent a good deal of time on my TriggerPoint Therapy Kit . Thankfully, there weren't too many kinks.

Girls' Lunch & Sister Evening 
Today I had lunch with a long-time friend I haven't seen in a while. It was so gorgeous out; we really should have picked a place with a patio in retrospect. But we went with a place we used to go to often, that she really wanted to go back to. We had a nice visit and enjoyed a cold, very refreshing (especially after my workout) Blue Moon, with an orange wedge of course.

While I was having lunch and girl time, Jason was nice enough to run the errands that needed to be run (Kroger and Target). My sister is coming up to stay the night. I think we might be making sushi tonight. We have everything we need, and I know she's been wanting to have a little sushi party.

I'll be sure to take pictures and recap tonight. But for now, I'm signing off early so I can get a few things done around the house before she shows up. I also need to put my feet up for a bit.

I hope you all are having a great weekend so far - and hopefully enjoying some nice weather as well!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fun Facts Friday - Tips for Friends/Family of Bloggers

Just For Fun Cardio 
Last night was a super restless night of sleep for me. I ended up waking up for the last time at 5:11 am. I was really going to make today a second rest day for the week (gasp), something totally unheard of for me. But since I was up, I decided to do something short and fun just to get the blood flowing.

I didn't want anything leg intensive (trying to save my legs for tomorrow's long run), so I went with Cathe's MMA Kickboxing - just doing the first two combos only. It took just about 20 minutes, then I stretched for a bit before getting ready for work. It was a nice way to start the day. No pressure to get in a certain amount of cardio or any particular weights. Just for fun.

Freaking Out and Fun Friday 
So, today was the day to sign up for the Cathe Road Trip. I was so excited about the prospect of meeting up with Jessica and Jolene again AND meeting Madeline for the first time. At the same time, there was a great deal weighing on me with this trip. I have a work trip schedule mid-July in Chicago. I would get back to work and then turn around and leave again. Also, money. With the car situation, things are going to be tighter than expected. 

But, I just kept going back to hanging out with my friends. The thought of missing out on the trip. I had decided (sort of) to just do it and figure it out later. Seriously, you have to have the link open and ready to go at the very second they open up the registration. So I was already freaking out a bit about whether or not I'd be fast enough again.


In the end...I closed the link. I didn't sign up. Am I sad? Yes. I was really and truly looking forward to the whole Cathe Road Trip experience again as well as visiting Philly again (especially meeting Madeline). But, I think it's for the best. Jessica and Jolene opted out too. Why? Because we're going to plan a trip together in August instead. 

So all is not lost. I am really excited about the new plans to be honest. We'll actually get to have some down time together and really and truly catch up. Sometimes things work out the way they're meant to be right? I like to think so. I know for a fact it will be one fun-filled weekend! I kind of feel sorry for the boys who have to witness it.


Back to present fun...it is Pizza Friday. We've also got plans to meet up with some friends for a very short happy hour. Can't be out partying; gotta be fresh for tomorrow's run. But it fun to hang out with friends for a bit just to be out of the house.


Fun Facts Friday

More fun? Ok, Fun Facts Friday. This week, being out of the kitchen and all, I've had more time again. I love blogging, but man does it suck up some major time, especially when coupled with things like training for a race, working full time, cooking each night, trying to find time to stretch out those tired muscle, hitting the gym for weights...what about personal time?

So this week, sitting and watching someone else cook (yes, sitting down like a normal person), I have been thinking a lot about blogging and balance. It's Friday, and I don't want to do a super serious post about the perils of blogging, about losing balance, or losing touch with reality. I think that's another post. So for today, I thought I'd go with a list of tips for family (especially spousal units) and friends of bloggers. Just some things to keep in mind:

  • Be patient.
  • Learn to love the camera.
  • Cold food is still tasty - or just stick in the microwave for a second.
  • Always be prepared to have your picture show up on a post - so smile and look pretty please.
  • Be patient - needs to be repeated.
  • If you don't want something to be discussed, you best speak up.
  • It may not seem rational, but having multiple sets of dishes, table linens, etc. is truly vital.
  • Just nod your head and smile when we talk about our blog friends and it makes no sense at all (eventually you'll put names to blog names).
Ok, not an extensive list at all (losing creativity) - so fill in the blanks!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Husband Takes Over Kitchen

Way Way Off Running Plan
So today I thought I was going to hit the trails again for another fantastic outdoor run. The temps were perfect, but the wind was so out of control. Not even gusting 23 mph, just flat out 23 mph. Um, no thank you. I might be fairly crazy, but I'm not totally crazy (ok, that might be a lie).

Anyway, as much as I wanted to run outside, and as much as I wanted to attempt to semi-salvage this week's training plan (which is so completely out the window), I hit the gym instead. I started with 10 minutes on the elliptical to warm up and then hit the weights for shoulders and triceps. I started to go with supersets (very typical) but ended up doing trisets of 3x8 followed by 2 additional exercises:

TS#1
Shoulder press
Lateral raises
Rear delt press

Front raise open to side - 8

TS#2
Double-arm overhead triceps press
Lying triceps extensions
Double-arm kickbacks

Triceps dips - 16

After the weights I did some ab exercises before returning to the elliptical for 15 minutes.

Car Update & Kitchen Takeover
I haven't mentioned the car situation in a while. Still not found. We talked to the insurance company again today and if it's not found by next Thursday, then they will go ahead and file it as a total loss. In the meantime, they were going to get me into a rental car today. Well, that never happened.

So, two weeks later and we're still doing the one car rotation. It's not been too terrible, but I have to carefully plan any errands to make sure I can pick Jason up after work or that I have a car when I need it. We have started trying to look at what kind of car I may want to get. The thing is, both cars were paid off, and we had no intention of buying a new car for at least another year. I haven't been paying the slightest bit of attention to cars so I don't even know what I want. It's all very overwhelming to say the least.

Anyway, Jason had the car key (only one as the spare was on my key chain) so I had to meet him at his office to even get home after the gym. We got home and were sort of discussing dinner. He apparently is enjoying this whole kitchen takeover because that means he dictates what's for dinner. I was going to pull out leftover Vegan Lentil Bolognese, but he was set to run to the store to pick up a couple of things because he had his heart set on Italian "Beef" Sandwiches.
We topped with a vegan "cheese" that obviously didn't melt very well. But that's ok, they still tasted great.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Slacker...Sort Of

Running Off Plan
I wanted to thank everyone for their well wishes. Apparently it was a short-lived bug (thank goodness). The last time I had a stomach bug, I was literally down (not even a mere thought of working out or even eating) for two full days. I feel pretty much back to human today. I have been a little dehydrated, so I've been chugging water all day.

My first thought was that I was going to do yesterday's planned training run today. I was getting super excited. Well, as excited as one could get about: 3 miles, 2 x (2:00, 3:00, 4:00 intervals), 2 miles. Jason gently reminded me that I had been sick and it'd probably be in my best interest to not go out full force like a loon.

So I listened to reason and just headed down to the Big Dam Bridge with the intent of just seeing what I could do. Just a run, no crazy intervals, no hill repeats. Of course, this means I'm totally off training plan this week. But that's ok, or it's gotta be ok at least.

Anyway, I ended up running 7.08 miles at about an 8:29-8:30 pace. So, not an easy jaunt (typical Heather style) but I really didn't feel overly exerted. It felt like a pretty comfortable pace, at least for 7 miles. I know I couldn't have maintained that for too many miles more though.

I got home around 5:45 then hit the yoga mat for stretching and some time on my TriggerPoint Therapy Kit before getting cleaned up.

I'm Slacking
Jason has been wanting Thai Curry Veggies with Rice. Since I was going to be late tonight after the run, stretching, rolling, then finally getting cleaned up, the poor guy made dinner yet again. While this wouldn't have been my first choice, he wanted and I couldn't complain since he was cooking it. I feel like a slacker of a wife this week to be honest.
Sorry for the recycled photo, but I was starved! So, slacking wife, slacking blogger, but hey, I ran right????

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vegan Valentine's Dinner Recap & Roasted Tomato & Garlic Soup

Valentine's Day Dinner
As I promised, I logged off after posting yesterday. Jason and I had been talking about dinner ideas for many days. He decided to take on the cooking part, so I sat back and relaxed and kept him company. I had made some homemade Seitan Cutlets recently, so the plan was to use those and make some sort of mushroom sauce. Jason and bought some vegan demi-glace a few weeks back that he decided to pull out and try. We also had some beets, kabocha squash, new potatoes, one last parsnip, and spinach.

Menu: Seitan Cutlets with Mushroom Demi-Glace, Roasted New Potatoes & Parsnips, Roasted Beets & Kabocha Squash with Wilted Spinach.
 
 
 

Everything was so good. I loved the earthy flavor of the beets combined with the slightly sweet and softer texture of the kabocha squash. And I think we figured out the way we like parsnips....baking the crap out of them. They cannot be even the slightest bit underdone.


Stomach Bug & Soup
We didn't do anything exciting after dinner like watch a movie. It was around 8, and I didn't think I could stay awake for a movie. We did watch a couple of Monday-night shows though, and I headed to bed around 9. I promise I'm only 36. Anyway, it was probably a really good thing I went to bed early. I ended up waking up around 1:30 really sick to my stomach. Yep, stomach bug has struck.

I tossed and turned and kept getting up. I finally decided to go try to sleep on the couch around 5:50 am. I figured Jason would appreciate not being woken up by me constantly getting up and moving around, which also wakes Maddie up. I did make it to work at 8:30, riding in with Jason. I was hell-bent on going in with him otherwise I would have no way in if I was feeling better. Let's just say I left right at 11, hit the bed, and slept almost 2 hours.

I was supposed to have a long training run today. I was really looking forward to it because it's such a gorgeous day. I had my bag packed up, my mid-run fuel ready to go, even a post-run snack. Instead, I was stuck inside, either in bed or on the couch trying to force down water and Gatorade (Jason please get another flavor than orange).

By the time Jason got home at 5:45, I actually felt hungry. Of course, I really didn't know what I could eat or should try to eat. But I had roasted up some cherry tomatoes with lots of garlic a few days ago to use as a sauce. I asked Jason to combine those with other ingredients I used for a Tomato Basil Soup. So this is based off that recipe, but definitely had a garlic punch making it a Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup.

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup
Ingredients:
Cherry tomatoes halved
3 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 small white onion, chopped,
1 15 oz can no-salt diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can no-salt tomato sauce
8 oz low-sodium vegetable broth
1/s box firm silken tofu
To taste: salt, pepper, basil, parsley, oregano

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place tomatoes, garlic, small amount of olive oil and salt onto a baking sheet or glass baking dish. Cook until tomatoes are soft. 

In large pot, saute onions until soft. Add in the roasted tomatoes and remaining ingredients except for tofu. Cook approximately 5-10 minutes.
 
Pour mixture into blender, add tofu, and puree until smooth.

Transfer back to sauce pan, re-season if needed, and simmer until slightly thickens.
 
If you like roasted garlic, you'll really like this. It definitely adds a deeper flavor. This would be great with a grilled "cheese" sandwich as well. I'll admit, it was probably a little heavy for me tonight, but it was worth it. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday Burritos & Valentine's Present

No Cereal After All
Well, after much debate over dinner, we did not eat cereal after all. Jason ended up putting together some Toasted Tempeh and Bean Burritos by browning tempeh, along with red beans, red and green bell peppers, onions, some salsa, and typical Tex-Mex spices with a splash of lime juice. We sprinkled some whole-wheat wraps with Daiya, filled them with the mix, rolled and toasted up.
I have a feeling we'll make these again. They were tasty, filling, and fairly simple. 

Monday Gym Day
It's another absolutely gorgeous day here. Too bad I didn't have a run scheduled or that's what I would have done during lunch. Trying to follow the plan (for the most part), I didn't run but rather hit the gym for back and biceps and a short elliptical stint. It's pretty much the same routine as last Tuesday. I started with 10 minutes on the elliptical then hit the weights going with 3 sets of 8 reps:

Assisted pullups - 8

SS#1
Alternating biceps curls
Underhand barbell rows

SS#2
Pullovers
Hammer curls

SS#3
Cross-body curls
Single-arm rows

Assisted chinups - 8
Concentration curls - 1 set of 8 reps

After the weights, I hit up the elliptical again for another 15 minutes, then called it quits.

Best Kind of Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day is really just any other day, but today was rather special - it was like spring. It was so pleasant walking to the car around 5:20 and the sun still being out. This means spring is just around the corner. I am sure we'll end up having at least one more cold snap, but we're sooooo close. Today was close to 70 degrees again, and it's pretty much supposed to be this way all week. Can someone say outdoor training runs??? OK, then I'll say it - outdoor training runs!!

Jason and I don't really do anything super fancy for Valentine's Day. Every once in a while we'll go eat out somewhere nice, but this year we're cooking in. The menu is a collaborative effort, and Jason is doing most of the cooking. In some form or fashion the following will be used: homemade Seitan Cutlets, roasted beets, roasted kabocha squash, spinach, and a mushroom sauce. That's the best present in my opinion.

I'll be sure to post the recipes and menu tomorrow. But for this once, I'm going to log off and enjoy the evening and not worry about blogs, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

I hope you all do the same!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Weights Over a Run on Sunday

Working Out
So today I ended up ditching my half marathon training plan again. It called for 4 miles. It was a gorgeous, warm day, but really windy (gusting 18 mph). I just couldn't seem to get excited about running. So, I ended up doing chest, legs, boxing, and abs instead.

Pushups - 24
Flat bench chest flyes into press - 3x8
Pushups with toes on step - 16
Squats into Plie Squats with low-end pulse - 3x8
Incline bench flyes into press - 3x8
Staggered bench press - 12
Rear leg elevated lunges into deadlifts - 3x8
Firewalkers - 6
Calf raises - 2x16

I did the upper body only from combos 1 and 2 of Cathe's MMA Boxing then abs from High Reps. I did stretch for a bit after the workout before getting cleaned up.

Chores & Kitchen Boycott
Jason was nice enough to go to the grocery store while I was working out, then he headed out for a bike ride. In the meantime, I did laundry (washed, not folded mind you), made some hummus, and spent about 3 hours in our study/office shredding, filing, and tossing things.

It ended up being in the upper 60's, so when Jason got back he suggested we might go find a patio to sit out on for a drink. We did that and realized that even though it was nice and warm, the wind made it less warm. Also, there was a crying baby that couldn't be consoled. I know those things happen, but when you are childless, it's really hard to ignore. I really kind of felt sorry for the mom to be honest.

I had thought I was going to make a nice dinner tonight, but I think I'm going to boycott cooking. I feel like I've spent way too much time in the kitchen either cooking and/or cleaning and I'm just done. So not clue what's for dinner. Cereal? Right now Jason has his head in cabinets and is just randomly naming off things. So with that, I'm signing off....

Saturday, February 12, 2011

10 Miles...Check

Well this morning started off super chilly, but warmed up nicely. It was funny though, I was sitting at the kitchen table early this morning watching quite a few people running past. Our house is on the marathon route, so I guess some people are likely running the route or parts of it. I just couldn't figure out why they would run at 28 degrees when it was going to warm up to low 50's.

I really would have preferred to get the run in sooner, but really wanted to wait for the temps to warm up. We were really fairly productive while waiting. Jason vacuumed the area rugs, I cleaned the kitchen, then we rearranged the living room.

After all that productivity, we finally headed out for our run. The training plan called for a 10K today. I made the executive decision to ditch that plan today and go for miles not speed. The goal was 10 miles, and 10 miles we did. I really hope to be able to hit 11 next week. I need to do that mentally more than anything.

For the most part, it was a really good run. The weather was gorgeous and almost no wind (for a change). I was having some piriformis pain and my IT band was starting to feel tight near the end. This just meant extra stretching and time with the TriggerPoint Therapy Kit when we got home.

Unfortunately, running so much later means the day has sort of gotten away from me. I did have other to-do list items. But we'll be doing a late lunch/early dinner instead then meeting up with some friends for drinks. I have no idea what's on tap (pun intended), but I'm sure we'll have a great time visiting.

Sorry for the super short post, but I gotsta eat!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fun Facts Friday - Pros/Cons of Working From Home

Back to the Grind
Well, it was back to the office today. We did have another two-hour delay though. The streets are mostly clear as long as they were in the sun yesterday. Where they weren't, however, they are solid ice. It's supposed to be close to 40 today though, and sunny, so it should be cleared up thankfully.

We're heading into a really nice warmup for this weekend. Definitely looking forward to warmer weather, lots of sunshine, and getting to take my running outside.

Fun Facts Friday - Pros/Cons of Working From Home
Since I don't get to work from home often, it's a real novelty for me (kind of like the snow we had). Two days of working from home gave me some insight though on the reality of it. There are so many pros, but also some cons. So for Fun Facts Friday, I thought I'd share what I have learned from working from home this week.

Pros:
  • I can work in my yoga pants, warm house shoes, and fleece warmy.
  • Don't have to do hair or makeup. 
  • I can get tons of things accomplished in the kitchen at the same time I'm working.
  • I can work from my kitchen table, giving me a view outside (I have no window at my office).
  • I actually feel a little more productive, maybe it's because I can get things done around the house too with mini-breaks.
  • I can make a more impressive lunch for myself.
  • I can watch TV for a change.
  • It feels like less of a daily grind. 
  • Not having to smell bacon being heated up in the microwave.

Cons:
  • I don't have a good set up so if I'm on the couch, I start to get achy, and if I sit too long at the table, I get achy from slouching.
  • I get off schedule with eating.
  • It's easy to eat a lot more because I have far more options than just my stash of snacks at work.
  • Maddie chews her feet and after a few hours you want to do her bodily harm.
  • I don't have true remote access, so there are files and test links I can't access.
  • My netbook is TONS slower than my fancy Mac at the office.
I have to say that for me, it's still mostly positive. However, there is something to be said for getting up, getting ready, being on a schedule and leaving the house. I think the ideal situation for me would be working from home 2-3 days a week.

Do you work from home? What are your pros/cons?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

BBQ Seitan Sandwiches on Another Snow Day

Snow Day Again
Today we had a two-hour work delay, but my boss said we could work from home if we didn't want to try to make the icy drive into the office. Jason and I both worked from home. I parked it at the kitchen table where I could have a nice view of the bright sun and crisp, white snow. The roads seemed worse earlier today than last night actually. I guess it was from being packed down, so it became icy. They did start to finally clear around noon.

I got a few pictures of the neighborhood. I just couldn't resist. I guess snow is so gorgeous to me because we don't get it that often. It's definitely a novelty around here. I also love how quiet and serene everything seems, feels. I know it's because fewer people are out and about, but it's such a nice change.
 
 
 
 

Running
Because of the snow, I knew my run was going to have to be a treadmill run. Jason and I hit the gym around 3:30. The plan called for 5-6 miles then 4 gentle pickups. I really was not feeling in the mood to run at all.

I figured I could at least get in 3 miles, the pickups, then maybe some elliptical time. However, I stuck it out for 5 miles, then the pickups, which put me at 5.3 miles. I figured, "why not round it out to 6." So that's what I did. It kind of felt good to stick it out to the end.

No Crockpot Tonight
Earlier in the day I had made some homemade Seitan and made a slaw with a cashew cream for dinner tonight. No crockpot dinner tonight. Instead I went with BBQ Setian Sandwiches topped with the Vegan Slaw, and a side of roasted parsnip and sweet potato fries. Honestly, I think I've only had parsnips once before, but Jason had it in his head he wanted parsnip fries. So, that means they made their way into the grocery cart last trip.
 
We're both sort of out on the parsnips as "fries." They seemed a bit stringy. Maybe they needed to cook longer than the sweet potatoes.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Vegan Crockpot Lentil Bolognese Perfect for Snow Day

Snow Day???
The snow was definitey in the forecast for today. The question was when it would start. I already told my boss I was planning on an 8-4 day so that Jason and I could just go in at the same time since we're down to the one car. At 7 am, there was no snow. But it started at about 7:20 and DID NOT stop. The last time I remember snow like this was in 2000. We got about 12 inches. It took me 3 hours to get from my office to the bottom of a very long, very steep and winding road only about 3.5 miles from work before I had to park my car and start walking. This was before we live right by our offices.

I worked from my kitchen table watching the snow for about three hours before they finally, officially closed our offices. Woohoo - a real, true snow day! We get the occasional snow and ice here, but it's almost never enough to close down our offices. Even the state offices were shut down though.

I was super productive long before work was officially over. I started dinner in the crockpot around 10 am. Jason came in and said, "Dinner already? We haven't even made it to lunch yet." I also started soaking some beans to cook and freeze later on today. My stash is getting low.

Oh, and I took pictures just about every hour to sort of document the snowfall. I've never really been able to do that before. The pictures of the angel and the birdbath are at approximately 8 am, 9 am, and 11:40 (missed 10 because I started working out). Not really super exciting, so I'll just post these.








In the end, we measured 7 inches in our yard.


Thank Goodness for Home Gym
Today I had planned on shoulders, triceps and abs. I thought would be able to hit the gym perhaps for elliptical time, but the snow came down, and kept on coming down. So my workout was homebound today.

SS#1 3x8
Arnold press
Double-arm overhead triceps extension

SS#2 3x10
Lateral raise
Double-arm kickbacks

SS#3 3x12
Rear delt press
Lying triceps extensions

Front raise open to side raise - 10
Weighted dips - 12

I finally got in my MMA Boxing workout. It was an awesome, energizing workout today. I finished up with the abs on the same DVD.

Sledding Anyone?
Jason did some work while I pretty much played online and kept watch over the crockpot and piddled. I really could have been more productive I suppose. We have friends that live pretty close by, and they were going sledding. We decided to unbury the car and join them. It's been about 11 years since I've gone sledding!

It probably took 15 minutes for me to just get bundled up. I had on my Under Armour running pants, another pair of long running pants, a pair of wind pants, wool socks, super fuzzy house socks, rain boots (best I had for waterproof shoes), 2 running tops, a fleece shirt, scarf, 2 pairs of gloves, hat, then coat....wooooo. I was determined to not freeze if you didn't gather that. Oh, and I'm clueless on how to dress to play outdoors. The 4th picture is Jason, he was the real pro. I just kept feeling like I was going to tip over and had snow all in my face.




It really was kind of fun playing like a kid again. It's very rare that I do anything like this.

Another Crockpot Dinner
Today was yet another crockpot dinner. I had been thinking about a vegan bolognese sauce, wanting to maybe try one in the crockpot. But I didn't want to leave it unattended in case it needed more liquid. I didn't want to add too much so that it was runny, but then worried it'd not be enough liquid. Today's snow day was the perfect opportunity for me to test this one out: Vegan Crockpot Lentil Bolognese.

Vegan Crockpot Lentil Bolognese
Ingredients:
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
2-3 carrots, diced
Minced garlic (I forgot this and had to had powdered later)
Approximately 24-26 oz no-sodium vegetable broth
2 cans no-salt diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 cups dried lentils (I used brown)
To taste: salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, basil, parsley

Directions:
In non-stick skillet, saute onions, peppers, and carrots (also garlic if using fresh) until carrots begin to soften. Then add all ingredients into crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours.

Notes: I had started off with about half a box of the broth then had to add more 3 hours into cooking, so 24 oz is approximate.
 
I served this over a whole-wheat rotini, sprinkled with nutritional yeast and a side of roasted broccoli and garlic. This was a super filling, very comforting dinner. Most definitely perfect after some sledding and lots of snow. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Vegan Chorizo & Black Bean Chili Perfect After 8-Mile Treadmill Run

Crazy Weather & Running Plan
Well at least today was a bright and sunny day. We've got snow in our forecast (again) tonight and all day tomorrow. They are predicting anywhere from 6-8 inches here. Seriously? I swear I live in the south. The average temps right now are supposed to be in the low 50's (I think that's around 10°C). Today was in the 30's (below 0 C) and tomorrow low 20's. Alison, the Celsius is for you ;-)

If it hadn't been so windy out, I might have tried to take my training run outdoors. It was another long one...I swear the person who put together this half marathon training plan was on crack.

Today called for 3 miles, 2x2:00 AI*, 2x2:30 AI, 1x3:00 AI, 6 pickups, 2 miles. I'm tired just typing that out. My legs muscles even twitched. Thank goodness I updated my playlist! After the intervals were done, I was right at 6.25 miles. So I just did another 1.75 miles for an even 8.

This was a puke-worthy workout, and I was pooped! What's worse is that my running socks were all dirty, so I had to wear just regular workout socks. They're thicker, quite comfy, but not comfy for 8 miles. Toes are a bit sensitive feeling now.

When I got home I spent about 30 minutes stretching and rolling out on my TriggerPoint Therapy Kit before getting cleaned up.

*Aerobic Intervals (AI): You push the pace. But just a little. Find a tempo that feels somewhere between comfortable and "Hey, I'm workin' a little here." Don't run this too hard. Trying to add too much intensity while you're also increasing mileage spells I-N-J-U-R-Y. When you finish the timed AI, jog very slowly until your breathing returns to normal, then work back into your regular pace. On all other days, just run your assigned miles as you feel. 

More Crockpot Cooking
During lunch I tossed together another crockpot creation: Vegan Crockpot Chorizo and Black Bean Chili. It's very similar to a Vegan Chorizo and Black Bean Soup I made recently, only thicker, no jalapenos, and no corn. I was going to call it a stew, but it seemed more like a chili. I guess I should look up the definition of what makes something a chili.

I had been thinking about trying to come up with a lentil bolognese sauce that I could do in the crockpot, but was worried about not enough liquid and it burning up, so I decided I'll test that one out when I'm at home and can watch it.

My mind was racing with ideas of something that would be warm and comforting tonight, and that would either be super fast to make, or that I could do in the crockpot as I knew that a) it was going to be cold and b) that run was going to mean a later evening for me.

Vegan Chorizo and Black Bean Chili
Ingredients:
1 package vegan soy chorizo
1 red bell pepper, diced (or half red and half green)
1/2 white onion, diced
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 cups cooked black beans
17-20 oz no-sodium vegetable broth (approximate, just enough to cover the ingredients)
1 can no-salt diced tomatoes (with liquid)
To taste: salt, pepper, red pepper, chili powder, cumin, cilantro, paprika

Directions:
In non-stick skillet, brown the chorizo and add in the onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Saute until vegetables begin to soften.

Add all ingredients into crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours then cook 1 hour on high with lid removed to allow chili to thicken.

 

While I was stretching and getting cleaned up, Jason made half a batch of my Vegan Chipotle Cornbread. This totally hit the spot tonight. I am so in love with my crockpt if you haven't gathered that.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Car Update & Chipotle Tempeh Chili (Crockpot Version)

Car Update
As I promised, here is a picture of the wall I had to scale to get into my cube on Friday. I stood on the chair to get onto the cabinet then stepped over the wall. Thankfully there is another cabinet on the other side (see 2nd picture) that I could stand on then jump off of.
 

I've had so many of you ask about that status of the car. Well, it's still gone. We have to wait 3 weeks before the insurance company will give us a check for the value of the car. Of course, it could still be found between now and then. I got a nice fat envelope in the mail at lunch today with tons of paperwork to fill out for the insurance company.

While I am really really trying to find some humor or even the slightest bit of positivity out of the situation, it really started to sink in yesterday afternoon. I ended up opting out of the Super Bowl party, letting Jason go alone. I wasn't going to be much fun. I'd like to just curl up and have a crying fit to be perfectly honest. It didn't help that it was snowing again this morning and I couldn't even go heat up Jason's car for fear it'd get stolen too.

Another thing that has me freaked out is the thought of how close the thief likely was to me Friday morning. It literally happened within minutes of starting the car. So they had to have been very close by. Anyway.....

Monday Gym Day
Today I had to get by the gym to get my new door pass since mine was taken along with the car. I decided to start with about 10 minutes on the elliptical then hit back and biceps. I did supersets of 3x8.

Assisted pullups - 8

SS#1
Underhand barbell row
Dumbbell curls

SS#2
Single-arm row
Hammer curls

SS#3
Pullovers
Cross-body curls

Concentration curls - 2x8

Assisted chinups - 8

I finished with another 15 minutes on the elliptical then called it done. On the elliptical I can actually read a magazine and there was one article in Self that hit home. It was talking about dealing with bad or traumatic situations. So I definitely took that to heart.

I actually had a really strong workout today. I think that my new playlist might be part of that. My other playlist was SO dated. It was to the point where I didn't even want to hear those songs one more single time. So the new playlist was definitely fun and energizing.

Crockpot Chili
At lunch I started a Crockpot Chipotle Tempeh Chili . It's the same recipe that I typically use for Chipotle Tempeh Chili, only I did use chipotle peppers in adobo rather than flakes, and I just put all ingredients in the crockpot and set to cook on high for 4 hours.

After the 4 hours, I checked the seasonings and added in about 3 oz of tomato paste and let it cook another 30 minutes on high, but uncovered (it was a bit runny for my liking).
Definitely nice to not have to stand over a pot of chili and babysit it. Dinner was mostly done for me, and you have to love that on a Monday!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Lifting & Boxing, no Running & Tofu "Wings"

Sports Bar Eats
Last night we ended up watching Going the Distance and just relaxing on the couch. We weren't terribly hungry, as in no need to make a full dinner. But we both knew we needed something small at least. I had pulled some tofu out of the freezer to thaw because I thought we were going to have sushi. Anyway, halfway through the movie I decided I needed to make Tofu "wings."

This is one reason I don't like going to the theater - I can't just get up and head into the kitchen and pause the movie. I don't sit still for long periods very well. Back to the "wings"...I have never had hot wings. I have no clue what they are supposed to even taste like. However, I'm oddly intrigued by them. I couldn't even tell you how many times I've asked Jason about the sauce and how they are made. Again, I have no idea where this bizarre obsession comes from.

Well, last night I decided that I finally had to try making my own Tofu "Wings." I've really been planning this out for a while now. I know, not right in the head, but that's ok. I also decided to try making a Vegan Cashew Ranch Dressing to dip the "wings" in.


Tofu "Wings"
Ingredients:
BBQ sauce (maybe 1/2 cup)
Hot sauce (to your liking)
Apple cider vinegar (to desired consistency)
1 package extra-firm tofu, cubed (frozen then thawed and squeezed)

Directions:
Mix all wet ingredients then let the tofu marinate. Bake at 400 degrees until firm and crisp, flipping at least once (probably baked about 35 minutes).

Vegan Cashew Ranch Dressing
Ingredients:
1/4 cup raw cashews (approximate)
Almond milk (to desired consistency)
Apple cider vinegar (just a splash, and for consistency)
To taste: salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder

Directions:
Either soak the cashews for about an hour, or grind them in your coffee/spice grinder. Combine all ingredients in a food processor, the liquid should just be covering the nuts. Puree until smooth. If too runny, add in some oat flour (which is what I had to do). Re-season if needed.
 

I had some leftover hummus, so I decided to include that in my platter of "wings" as well. So we had carrots, hummus, pita chips, Tofu "Wings," and Vegan Cashew Ranch Dressing. It was really kind of fun having this for dinner. Not something I'd do all the time, but fun since I never get to dive into those types of platters out at sports bars. The next time I make these, I will make some additional sauce and coat them again after I remove them from the oven.

Anti-Cardio Day
This morning was cold and dreary. Gray mornings are kind of depressing. It really makes it hard to get motivated to do much of anything, and my to-do list was a long one. Today the plan was to go with chest and abs and some boxing rather than going for a run. I seriously had no desire for a run. In the end, I did chest, some lighter leg work for weights: For the chest weights, I just did pushups and supersets of flyes and presses for 3 sets of 8 reps:

Pushups - 24

Incline chest flye
Incline chest press

Pushups with toes on step - 16

Flat bench chest flye
Flat bench chest press

Pushups - 4 single count, 4 3:1 count, 4 1:3 count

Staggered bench press - 8

SS#1 2x8 with low-end pulse
Squats
Plie squats

SS#2 2x8
Static lunges with low-end pulse
Deadlifts

Drop squats off step - 2x8
Firewalkers - 6
Weighted donkey kicks - 2x16
Roll-ins on ball - 12
Inner thigh squeeze with ball - 2x24

I used Cathe's MMA Boxing workout for my cardio and did abs from the same DVD. I was really excited about the boxing until I got started. I realized I had no desire to do cardio at all, it wasn't just not wanting to run. So I only did the upper body combo and drill from the first interval before the abs then a good stretch before calling the workouts done.

We had a few errands to run today - finally made it to Target and Kroger. I am really getting annoyed with the Kroger closest to us. They just remodeled, and it looks great. But they are never stocked. There weren't even green bell peppers today - not even a crappy shriveled one. 

We're supposed to head over to our friends' house for a Super Bowl party. In all honesty, I really just want to stay in my PJs and sit on my couch. I don't care a thing about the game and I'm starting to feel a little down in all honesty. I think the whole car situation is starting to truly sink in.

For those going out to parties, please be safe!